The 136th edition of The Game, the annual football game between Harvard and Yale, was interrupted and delayed after a protest began on the field during the last three minutes of half-time. Hundreds of protestors flooded onto the field to call on Harvard and Yale to divest their endowments from fossil fuels and Puerto Rican debt. The protest lasted about half-an-hour, and game play was delayed by 48 minutes. Some protesters who refused to leave were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
The protest began when a group of students from Harvard and Yale’s divestment organizations ran onto the field holding signs with three minutes left of half-time. They sat down in the middle of the field and began chanting, calling on Harvard and Yale to divest. Some activists stood up in the stands holding banners as well.
Protesters on the field held banners reading “This is an Emergency,” “Yale and Harvard Students United in Climate Justice,” and “Nobody Wins:Yale & Harvard Are Complicit in Climate Injustice.” The protesters called directly on Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow and Yale University President Peter Salovey with a “Presidents Bacow and Salovey:Our Future Demands Action Now” banner. Harvard spokesperson Rachael Dane wrote in an emailed statement that the University does not believe divestment is the best way to confront the "global challenge" of climate change. Yale spokesperson Karen N. Pert wrote in an emailed statement that though Yale supports the right to free expression, they do not allow disruption of university events.
As the protest continued, spectators from the stands began running onto the field to join the demonstration.
Hundreds of students joined the protest on the field of the Yale Bowl. Officials made announcements over the loud speakers throughout the protest calling on the activists to return to the stands out of respect for players.
About 10 minutes after spectators began leaving the stands en-masse, a large number of police approached the crowd, leading most people to leave the center of the field.
Some activists refused to leave the field despite calls from University officials, the Yale Police Department, and the New Haven Police Department. Ronnell Higgins, Yale University’s Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety told protesters “Help us help you. I can only do that if you exit the field right now. You’ve made your point.” Harvard College Dean Khurana told protesters “You're not alone on this. We have to, though, create a courtesy for other students — your peers who are playing today.”
Connecticut Governor Edward Miner Lamont Jr. ’76 was among the officials who went down to the field.
Police confronted Harvard protester Andrés de Loera-Brust '20. Police officers began physically moving protesters who refused to leave the field.
Police then escorted protesters off the field and took them outside the stadium. According to Yale spokesperson Karen Peart, 42 protesters were issued misdemeanor summons for disorderly conduct.
The Harvard and Yale Football teams returned to the field to warm up as the last protesters were escorted away. Yale went on to win the game 50-43 in overtime as the sun went down.